Two Australian companies, leading TV commercials producer Film Graphics and top visual effects outfit Animal Logic have simultaneously, but separately, launched into feature film and television programme production.

And while each company's methods are different - Australian Rules producer Mark Lazarus has been appointed executive producer and head of development for Film Graphics Entertainment, while Animal Logic is utilising existing in-house staff - the idea behind both moves is the same. Both Sydney-based companies are highly skilled at storytelling in their respective areas, have strong existing brands and have the resources to help fund their own development.

"We have signed a development deal with the ABC for an animated children's series and whether that will transfer into production only time will tell," said Animal Logic managing director Zareh Nalbandian, who owns the 10-year-old company with visual effects director Chris Godfrey.

Animal Logic was praised for its work on The Matrix and for the period construction of 1899 Paris for Moulin Rouge. It is currently working on The Matrix sequel and Hero.

"With our pool of directing talent and production expertise, moving into feature and television production is a natural progression," said David Deneen, who established Film Graphics in 1964. Lazarus and Tim Brooke-Hunt, who has just been appointed as a consultant for the children's animation, will work with existing executive producers Anna Fawcett and Jude Lengel to identify and develop a slate of new projects, as well as those already in development.